The Austin Chronicle

Weekly Update

By Nick Barbaro, December 20, 2006, 5:31pm, The Score

U.S. men's national team coach Bob Bradley has named the roster for his first training camp ... Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro and Brazilian midfielder Marta named FIFA Players of the Year ... Internacional of Brazil upsets Barcelona in Club World Cup ... Champions League round of 16 draw announced: Liverpool-Barcelona! ... Midseason Euro roundup ...

U.S. men's national team coach Bob Bradley has named 29 players to his first training-camp roster that will begin workouts Jan. 4. It's an extremely young, inexperienced group, with only one player based overseas, 22 with less-than-five appearances with the national team, and 10 who have never appeared in a game with the senior team.

Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro was voted FIFA Player of the Year Monday, the first defender ever to earn the honor and only the second Italian (Roberto Baggio, 1993). Brazilian midfielder Marta is FIFA Women's Player of the Year.

South American champ Internacional of Brazil got a late goal from Adriano to upset Spanish powerhouse Barcelona 1-0 to win the Club World Cup on Sunday.

The European Champions League round of 16 draw was announced Friday. Highlight matchups include Liverpool-Barcelona, and Real Madrid-Bayern Munich. The full draw:
FC Porto vs. Chelsea
Celtic vs. AC Milan
PSV Eindhoven vs. Arsenal
Lille vs. Manchester United
AS Roma vs. Lyon
Barcelona vs. Liverpool
Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich
Inter Milan vs. Valencia
The two-legged matchups will be played Feb. 20-21, and March 6-7.

As the holidays approach, international action is done for the year, and most of the European leagues are in or approaching their winter breaks.
Here's a look at where things stand at the halfway point in the major European leagues:
England: is looking like a two-team race at the top, with Manchester United holding a slight gap over two-time defending champ Chelsea. The logjam behind them shows signs of breaking up, with the other two of the big four, Liverpool and Arsenal, finally starting to play like it.

Italy: Inter Milan leads the way, still unbeaten, while crosstown rival AC Milan continues to struggle. They started the season with an eight-point penalty, and are now 10 points out of a top-four finish. (Scandal-relegated Juventus is unbeaten in the second-tier Serie B, and look a lock to be back up in Serie A next year.) They'll take a two-week winter break, Dec. 30 and Jan. 6.

Spain: Barcelona, Real Madrid, and upstart Sevilla are locked in a three-way fight.

France: Five-time defending champ Lyon already has a commanding 17-point lead, and appears to have iced their sixth straight title before Christmas.

Germany: Werder Bremen may have crashed out of the Champions League, but they're atop the Bundesliga, along with surprising Schalke 04. Defending champ and favorite Bayern Munich is third, just three points out of the lead. The Germans are done with the first half of their schedule, and on a six-week winter break.

Holland: PSV Eindhoven has opened a gap on AZ Alkmaar and Ajax Amsterdam. They'll take a break the first two weekends in January.

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